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What is an algorithm and how does it work for my Instagram account?

Updated: Apr 4

For all you business owners out there, this is a question that's probably been on your mind as you navigate the world of Instagram. Understanding this topic can affect your social media visibility, engagement, and conversion rates.


Let's break it down

Wellllll, for starters, there isn't just one algorithm; there are a few at play: FEED, STORIES, REELS and EXPLORE. Each IG algorithm ranks content based on different factors.

A) FEED: Your activity in-feed (likes, comments, saves, and shares) and information about the post and the person who posted it.

B) STORIES: Stories you've viewed or engaged with.

C) REELS: Your activity in Reels (likes, comments, saves and shares), as well as info about the Reel and the person who posted.

D) EXPLORE: Your activity in Explore (likes, comments and shares), as well as info about the post and the person who posted it.

Try this now. Navigate through your feed, stories, explore, and REELS tab for a couple of minutes. Do you see the same accounts, themes, and types of content? You might not. 


Who thinks up this stuff?

Our buddy at IG, Adam Mosseri, recently explained how the FEED algorithm has changed over the past few years, moving to a model that favours INTEREST. Ok, but how does the algorithm know what we're interested in? It's a complex process where IG adds and removes signals and predictors to get better at knowing what will keep us on the platform longer, i.e., what interests us.


Hopefully, your head isn't exploding, or you're not yet bored to tears. We must understand how this works to create better content for our audience. 


What are the signals IG is talking about?

  1. Info about the post: Is it a video or photo? When was it posted? Does it have any engagement? 

  2. Information about the poster: How interesting are they to you? Are they someone you follow? Do you usually engage with their posts?

  3. Your activity: Do you watch video content on the app? What types of content do you usually like/comment on? 


Key takeaways

The Instagram algorithm monitors every interaction you make—from the posts you like to who you interact with—in order to serve you content.

So now it's time to flip the switch and think about this from the perspective of trying to create content that will attract new followers and keep those current audience members toasty warm.

I won't get stuck in the weeds of explaining each algorithm, but if you want to geek out, visit this link:


If you need help navigating the complexities of social media strategy and crave a more structured approach to content planning, feel free to schedule a complimentary discovery call with me here.

See you on social!


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